Technology used in patient’s home reduces cost and improves outcomes

4 Nov

With rising costs of healthcare already upon us, hospitals continue to search for ways to cut costs. One of the ways that this can be accomplished is by reducing patients’ length of stay. Certainly the sooner you can get home, the better you feel recovering in the privacy of your own home.  There are also many hospital acquired illnesses,  infections, or other problems such as blood clots or adverse reactions to medications which can lengthen a patient’s stay. Healthcare institutions have already begun to train nurses who go into the patient’s home and take care of them there. These home- health care nurses  specialize in caring for patients in their own home and are especially skilled at teaching both patients and their families.  For example, a patient who just had a heart attack may have some suffer heart rhythm disturbances while recovering from their illness. If a patient must be sent home but still need monitoring, the home health nurse can apply  a telemetry heart monitoring unit  to the patient in their home.  Many of these patients can be safely monitored at home using Tele- health technologies, which send wireless signals through an Internet site to a nurse. If something were to go wrong with the heart rhythm, the device can send  a warning to the nurse and also summon 911 for help.

Telehealth technologies are helping our veterans recover quicker also.. Expert nurses are needed to teach patients how to use these technologies and help them recover more quickly in the privacy of their own home.


What’s in a flu shot?

29 Oct

Is this your reaction when you have to get your flu shot?


Student nurses’ use of drug /disease reference apps. on iPhone

28 Oct

Carrying around a huge pocket drug book with all the medications you need to know can be cumbersome for any nursing student. These ready- referenced  pocket drug administration guides don’t really fit in your pocket any more because they are so thick! What happens if you are working in the Intensive Care Unit as a student nurse and the doctor places your patient on a medication you are unfamiliar with? You couldn’t use your pocket reference because you left it in your book bag and besides, the pockets of your lab coat are already buldging with other note cards, pens, reflex hammer and stethoscope. There’s just no room! Enter your iPhone. Nurses, students or not, can purchase a drug /disease reference app.  and download it onto such hand-held technology as your  iPhone or iPod Touch.  Simply touch the icon to open up an exhaustive drug reference /disease guide to quickly access electronically everything you need to know about a particular drug or disease process.  Some of this technology is free and my college students and I love free! Visit this link to download this free technology. For nurses,  having hand-held technology right at your fingertips provides quick access to updated information.  Susan Newbold MS, RN, FAAN, heatlh care informatics consultant and  author on nursing informatics, endorses the use of hand-held technologies to enhance productivity and promote  patient safety by reducing medication and procedural errors. Having immediate access to life saving information may reduce the likelihood of a medical error and enhance productivity. That’s great news for patients, student  nurses and nurses who currently practice!

Successful Integration of Technology into the Classroom

15 Oct

Present day educators face numerous barriers to the successful integration of technology into their curriculum.  As a nurse educator I struggle primarily with  self- efficacy and knowledge deficits when it comes to technology in my classroom. Inadequate funding doesn’t seem to be an issue in the university setting because of grant monies and tech fees and the financial support they provide.

The struggle in our department seems to be primarily in the area of knowledge deficits when it comes to use of all this expensive technology.

Our high-fidelity simulation lab provides nursing students with opportunities to practice assessment and implementation skills without the fear of injuring the patient/ mannequin.

It proves awkward, if the instuctor is not familiar with the sim lab technology, and learning trails off.

I believe many of the more seasoned instructors who have little comfort with technology find it effective and they would rather teach at the bedside with a live patient.

Here’s their concern……

You can’t model and teach caring and compassionate  behaviors, therapeutic communication and other essential nursing interactions with a mannequin. Therapeutic touch is also a skill which cannot be taught in the simulation lab, nor can you get a real good sense of stress of the moment and prioritization of care.

So.. simulation provides a non-threatening environment to practice skills but may have limited efficacy where the instructor is not comfortable with the technology.

Assuming good digital citizenship

14 Oct

During review of the Ribble and Bailey text Digital Citizenship in Schools, I found it particularly helpful to review  the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship noted on page 10 as a means of providing an organized way to address issues of good digital citizenship. These 9 Elements help educators to better understand pivotal issues that occur along the pathway to becoming a good digital citizen.  Members of our group  lead a thought-provoking discussion on important issues in understanding digital citizenship in our schools. You can learn more about this important topic by following the link below to our website.

Integrating high fidelity simulation into Nursing Curricula

11 Oct

I have been a critical care RN for 24 years. Most of my clinical expertise is in cardiology. You might gather that from my initials EKG. I can remember when getting an electrocardiogram (EKG) on a heart attack victim was a  high tech.  procedure and inserting an intravenous line into a patient was performed by a physician only.  Modern technological advances permit advanced training of nurses and other health care providers enabling them to diagnose and treat certain disease processes with greater accuracy and efficiency. The use of high- fidelity simulation mannequins in a simulation lab borrows technology from pilot flight simulator tranining. The nurse can practice assessment skills from listening to actual heart and lung sounds to interventions with medications or other treatments.

Simulation should be included as an early part of introductory nursing courses and threaded throughout the curriculum. It’s an opportunity for the novice student nurse to practice rapid assessment, prioritization of treatments and be able to evaluate whether the intervention was timely and correct. Simulation should be conducted in a non-threatening environment where the student is not penalized for a mistake that costs the mannequin its life. Debriefing after a scenario is completed is a very important part of the learning process. This debriefing should include positives as well as opportunities to improve.

Simulation and skills lab time should not monopolize the curriculum. There is no substitution for hands on supervised care of a live patient. I currently teach two 4- hour days for every fourteen 8- hour-days in the hospital’s ICU. Simulation days positioned at the beginning of the semester seem to work best to ease students’ anxiety.

Integrating Technology into Nursing School Curricula

30 Sep

     The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice produced by The American Association of Colleges of Nursing identifies and supports the integration of simulation as a valuable element of clinical preparation for the role of professional nurse. Nurse educators face numerous challenges that demand consideration of new pedagogical strategies to better prepare undergraduate nurses to assume more complex roles in professional nursing. The interest in using Human Patient Simulation (HPS) was fueled, in part, by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports encouraging the development and testing of new educational strategies to improve patient safety (Henneman, Cunningham, Roche, & Curnin, p.212, 2007). During the 1980’s, the development of powerful personal computers and new software technological innovations, led to the adoption of simulation, first in the medical community by anesthesia training programs, then by other members of the health care team such surgeons. Borrowing proven technology from disciplines and professions such as flight simulation in aviation and emergency simulation in the nuclear power industry, nurse educators have developed full-scale patient simulators with increasingly sophisticated technolology. Ertmer and Ottenbreit-Leftwich (2010) point out that  physicians use high-frequency sound waves to scan the abdomen of a pregnant women creating images which determine the sex, age,  and health of the unborn fetus. Most citizens expect their nurses and doctors to be up-to-date on the latest technologies to enable them to perform their jobs safely, efficiently, and effectively. Training nurses in simulation labs exposes them to technologies they need to effectively and safely perform nursing care. If the student make a mistake, the mannequin simply makes some warning noises and the simulation shuts down. Debriefing is important to follow this as it can be traumatizing knowing you just harmed your patient.

Welcome to the world of Critical Care Nursing

17 Sep

This blog is created for you to help you follow trends in critical care nursing. By following current evidence -based practice in critical care, you can make the best decisions for timely transitioning your patient through the critically ill phase of their hospital stay.